What if protecting your skin from the sun meant indulging in delicious fair trade dark chocolate? That might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. A recent German study found that daily consumption of a cocoa drink, high in flavanols, helped shield participants from several types of sun damage. Flavanols are plant-based antioxidants that help the body’s cells resist damage.
The study involved two groups of women, aged between 18 and 65. Each day one group consumed a high-flavanol cocoa drink while the control group were given a low-flavanol version instead.
The women who drank only the flavanol-rich chocolate, saw a reduction in the reddening of their skin in response to ultra violet light by 25 per cent after 12 weeks. They found their skin was 16 per cent denser, 13 per cent moister and 11 per cent thicker, as well as smoother and less scaly. They also saw blood flow to their skin double. In the control group there was no decrease in reddening, nor any change to blood flow. Researchers suspect that improved circulation was a likely factor, as the skin’s resilience depends largely on an adequate supply of healthy blood.
Dermatologists recommend also applying some sunscreen, as chocolate is not an entire substitute but will certainly offer an extra line of defense and a delicious one too!
Excerpted from Herbs for Health Magazine.
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